3 X 5 and Still Not Alive: A Sad-Sounding-yet-Hopeful Celebration of Dan 15 Years Later

Written by Susan Fritz | Wednesday, January 31st, 2024 Posted in Blog, Dan Fritz

15 years. I’ll never forget it, which is to say I’ll always remember it—the unfortunate-yet-somehow necessary timing of that day—Feb. 14th. The day of Dan’s memorial service. I scrolled back in my phone’s calendar (the iPhone which didn’t exist when you were alive, Dan…we still lived in Bberry Times!!) to confirm the day of the week of the date. Oh, how far I had to scroll! How many calendar months 15 years is! It was a Saturday (it had to be a weekend, didn’t it?), two weeks to the day after you hit the road and left this planet. Two weeks since I was certain the ICU doctor was pulling some inappropriate prank on all of us sitting vigil-style in that room. This is like ER right? The red lines going flat…the machine is just broken, right???

What, exactly, do I remember? The words? The feeling in the air? The electric shocks coursing through me as I stood in the back of the church, mustering up a courage not dissimilar to opening night jitters. No, no. A “performance” it was decidedly not, although I pulled it off because my subconscious (the one tasked with saving me) knew that’s what was needed. Give ‘em the ‘ol razzle-dazzle, Eulogy-Style!

I was a performer waiting in the wings for her Widow debut; waiting for the director to shout, “Curtain!” and the narrative to change back to the life I had 15 days prior.

What was this, then? It could not possibly be called a life without Dan.

Seconds-by-second, minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour…I got through that day. To honor him—to honor you, Dan. I set aside any inclinations to crawl under each and every layer of Earth until I reached its core–opting instead to give You the spotlight one more time–you and your words. Your life cut short; your light un-dimmable. How did I do it? is not the right question. How could I have done otherwise? is closer. But questions themselves are not necessary when it comes to honoring You.

I don’t want to go overboard describing this day. Attention spans aren’t what they used to be in early 2009, after all. My memory is purely speculative, after all. Life has continued, after all.

What I really want to say is something I’ve said before—many times, in many different ways. With the same words; with different words; with yet-to-be-invented words: I’m sorry.

I’m sorry
I’m really sorry
I’m truly truly sorry 
I’m really truly sorry 

To you. No, not You, but you, dear reader.

If you haven’t known in your life what it’s like to be loved by a Dan…

It’s the kind of Luck that surpasses craps tables and Powerball tickets. It’s the kind of luck that becomes more, not less vivid over the passing years…all 15.

It’s the kind of Love that should—must—give us all hope. I leave you with hope before this day ends and this 5 X 5 milestone passes.

The following is a bonkers addendum. Read on if you're curious about how Time and Grief can play tricks on one's Memory...and also how Timing is Always (usually) perfect. 
If you try sometimes, well, you might find...you get what you need... 

It’s very strange…incomprehensible to me, actually. Me-the one driven to near-obsession; the one posting something new about Dan, me, me and Dan; Dan and I, I and Dan…any excuse to write about him/us–I take advantage of it, filling your feed with vulnerable thoughts reserved, in an Alanis Ironic Twist, for public consumption. It’s incomprehensible that I thought the Memorial speech (AKA: Eulogy) I’d written for February 14th (one wouldn’t dare make these things up) had been lost to the winds and whiles of the Interwebs; gone forever, perhaps even mercifully. I thought it was gone–I truly did. But today, when I was inputting this into Ye Olde Blog post, I was looking for a photo and the search, “Dan Memorial” produced the result linked below. It was there all along, hiding in Plain Text sight. If you are interested–indeed, if you dare, you can read what I said that Impossible day, in my attempt to convey our collective un-conveyable loss.

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